Article Written by Mikaela Wall
Last month, two Roanoke College graduates and new entrepreneurs joined a business trend that is sweeping the country.Brandon Ford ‘16 and Ben Shaw ‘16, both alumni of the college’s business major, opened Deciphered Roanoke, an escape room, in down- town Roanoke. Ford and Shaw are co-founders, and two of the space’s three owners.
An escape room is a space filled with interactive puzzles and games that requires a group of people to solve problems in order to free themselves from the locked space. These rooms are used for team-building activities by schools, businesses and groups of friends. These mind-game businesses are sprouting up in cities all across the United States. Ford said he got the idea for the escape room business when he visited the Roanoke area last summer.
“I immediately called Ben to see if there was one around the Ro- anoke area,” he said. “To our surprise, no rooms existed, so we thought that Roanoke’s up-and- coming downtown was a
great place to start one.” Ford said he wants to “give everyone in the Roanoke area the chance to think out- side the box and really enjoy the bene ts that our rooms have to of- fer, whether that be team-building for corpo- rate management teams or entertainment for friend groups.” Both Ford and Shaw said they are in- terested in building con- nections in the Roanoke area, and they want to help college students who have the same en- trepreneurial spirit as they do.
They each take pride in Roanoke, want to see it grow, and want to see people capitalize on the countless oppor- tunities that the city offers.